Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Matt Schinelli is featured in podcast on ‘The Inclusive Class.’
Students with special needs are increasingly participating in general physical education programs in schools throughout the country, and a Livingston educator is among the experts helping teachers adapt or modify classes to include all students. Matt Schinelli, physical education teacher at Burnet Hill and Hillside elementary schools, was featured November 9 on The Inclusive Class Podcast in a show titled “Physical Education for Students with Special Needs.” The Inclusive Class on BlogTalk Radio is a program for families and schools who are interested in learning about the inclusion of children with special needs in the general education classroom. Schinelli is an expert on adapting physical education for people with various abilities. A …
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Meanwhile, district and teachers will meet before state-appointed mediator Jan. 5.
Although Superintendent Dr. Brad Draeger praised Livingston for performing at “incredibly stellar levels” on the ASK/HSPA tests last school year at Monday night's Board of Education meeting at Livingston High School, the school district is still seeking improvement in proficiency levels among its special-education students. For example, the district ranks below the state district performance group average in sixth- and seventh-grade language arts, as well as seventh-grade mathematics. However, both Draeger and Mary Oates, the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, noted that 120 K-12 special-education students are placed out of district because of varying circumstances ranging from a learning disability to …
Monday, September 26, 2011
Town Council and Special Education group have meetings; fall sports in action.
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
- Phil Hoops
Monday, September 26, 2011
The calendar says that it's officially fall, yet the weather in Livingston sure still feels an awful lot like summer. Students in the district are certainly excited, after all with their first official vacation days scheduled for the end of the week. Here's what's happening this week in Livingston: 1. The township council will hold a night of municipal meetings at the Town Hall. A conference meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. followed by a regular meeting at 8 p.m. Among the various agenda items, the council is expected to take a vote on a final ordinance regarding new traffic regulations in the Regency Club, a gated community located off of Passaic Avenue. If passed, the new ordinance will set a speed limit of 25 mph on all roadways within…
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Shining Star is giving youth with disabilities the opportunity to participate in physical activities.
Livingston’s shining stars -- children with special needs -- took to the fields at Monmouth Court on Saturday morning to learn to play soccer. The event was the kick-off for the Senior, Youth & Leisure Services Shining Star Sports League. The inspiration for the program came from Livingston parents Michelle and David Allen who wanted a place for their son and his friends, who also have developmental disabilities, to play sports. “We had to do a lot of running around to find fields or indoor gyms for our kids to play,” said Michelle, who started conducting the outdoor activities three years ago. “So we wanted to do what we could to change that.” Fast forward to the present where a chance meeting with Mark Silance, Livingston Township’s …
Monday, August 1, 2011
An education task force has been listening to the voices of school reform for New Jersey.
A task force looking at ways to cut red tape in public education will be presenting its interim report to the governor in about two weeks. But first it is hearing from education advocates, teachers and parents from across the state on ways to improve New Jersey schools. “I think we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity nationally, and here in New Jersey, to really change the conversation about public education,” said state Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27th District) during testimony last month at Seton Hall University. David Hespe, a former state education commissioner, chairs the eight-member Education Transformation Task Force. At the hearing at Seton Hall, the committee heard testimony for three hours on a wide range of educational …
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Assistant Superintendent says Special Education Parent Advisory Committee is improving dialogue.
This article was submitted by Livingston Public Schools. The Livingston Public Schools Special Education Parent Advisory Committee, known as SEPAC, is working to improve communication between Livingston Public Schools and the parents of special needs students, according to Lawrence W. Russell Jr., Assistant Superintendent of Student Services and Instruction for Livingston Public Schools. “I think the parents were looking for an avenue to have open dialogue with the school administration and I think we met that goal,” Russell said. “We hope to continue to serve as a communication and information forum for all parents of special needs children in the school district.” The committee meets monthly and has met five times since its formation. “…
Thursday, May 19, 2011
According to latest guidelines, districts will only recoup 84 percent of what's due them for "extraordinary" costs.
The law came out of New Jersey’s previous school-funding formula in the 1990's, a way for the state to provide local districts with help for some of their steepest bills: so-called extraordinary special education costs. These are the bills for students with significant special needs, often requiring expensive staffing and other services. The law at the time set the threshold at $40,000, offering up the state's help to bear some of the costs above that amount. More than a decade later, Gov. Chris Christie has proposed raising the extraordinary aid fund to $162.7 million next year, up about 7 percent. But while welcomed by districts, it’s also not quite what it seems. The education department this week put out the guidelines that the state …
Thursday, April 7, 2011
A mother shares her experience with state-funded program for speech evaluation.
No parent wants to admit there is a problem with their child; some developmental milestone they just aren't reaching. Our youngest of three recently turned 2 and he barely talks. He babbles and has a word here or there but gestures are the main way he gets his point across. From experience and from friends who have multiple kids, we found that sometimes the youngest in the family is just a late talker. His or her siblings do all the talking for them and they don't need to rely on their words. We thought this was the case with our son. We were wrong. At his recent annual examination our pediatrician thought it was time to give early intervention a call. Early Intervention is a state funded program that, in part, helps children reach their …
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
A 9-year-old girl shines the spotlight on efforts to help those with special needs.
Mary McNany is a 9-year-old champion for Down syndrome awareness, and sometimes that means making friends with people in high places. Last night, Mary and her family were the guests at the governor’s mansion in Princeton. Drumthwacket was glowing in blue lights to spotlight the “Lighting the Way” initiative by Research Down Syndrome to help children and adults reach fuller potential and lead more independent lives. Mary is a shining example. She attends Hillside Elementary School, where she is a third grader in an integrated classroom for students with special needs and typical peers. This is a shift from just a few years ago, when options for children with Down syndrome and other disabilities would have meant out-of-district schooling. …
Monday, March 21, 2011
Seeing 'The King's Speech' reaffirms faith in finding the voices that deserve to be heard.
Next week we have a meeting with my son’s school regarding his issues. The following week he has the long-awaited appointment with the neurologist. I am nervous and excited to begin to get to the root of his delay. I volunteer in the school library and it’s hard for me to watch him sit at the big table, surrounded by his friends who are reading their books aloud, excited they can read. He studies the pages of his chosen books intensely, you can see him trying to will the words to make sense to him, but they don’t. He looks at his friends as though he’s trying to figure out what code they cracked, that allows them to read. After school this week while we were reading together, he put his little head on my shoulder. “Mama, did you know that…